Properties have been marketed off the MLS before, but these days, it’s happening more often and creating controversy because inventory is at an all-time low, said Bailey. In fact, today, inventory is at its lowest levels since 2005 and new listings continue to decline. The average days on market (DOM) is now 35 in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, down 60 percent from 2011.

Robert Bailey, MLSListings Inc. chair, told SILVAR members this week that May 2012 had the highest exclusions of property on the MLS since 2007. Between January and November 2012, off-MLS transactions accounted for 20 percent of total home sales or nearly $1 billion in sales volume. He indicated in Menlo Park alone, during this period 20.32 percent of all home sales were off-market. In Atherton, 31 percent of total sales were off-market.

Bailey said MLSListings does not support private MLSs or MLS clubs because their purpose runs counter to the company’s goal of fostering an environment of cooperation and collaboration. He said while it is not MLSListings’ purpose to define a REALTOR®’s business model, the MLS is a cooperative effort.

MLSListings provides for the exclusion process, has rules regarding it and imposes fines if rules are broken, but it can’t stop it. It is up to REALTORS® to address the dilemma. Bailey asked members to visit the MLSListings website and take a survey on the topic and engage in the discussion. Weekly survey questions are on the Pro homepage at For a forum for community discussion, visit

MLSListings received 1,035 responses in the first week of the survey. Findings showed 24 percent of respondents use off-market listings (OML); 34 percent never use OML; and 34 percent said they don’t know about OML. Meanwhile, 64 percent of respondents believe the use of OML is exclusionary or discriminatory, either legally or ethically. Discussions generated interesting comments for and against the OML practice.

Bailey invited members to take part in the survey and discussion. “Let your thoughts be known,” he said.

The MLSListings chair reminded SILVAR members that they own the MLS. “You are the stakeholders. That’s what makes us unique,” said Bailey.

View Bailey’s presentation here.